No hair and looking so thin
I remember the first time seeing my reflection in a television screen. My face really pale, no hair on my head and looking so thin. I think that moment had a big impact on things – I didn’t like what I looked like so why would I move away from the sanctuary of my bed and parade myself down the corridors? I have already mentioned that most of the chemo was given to me via my Hickman line. This was a tube that was fed directly into my chest and on the other end had three connections that could then be linked to various drugs. It was a speedier way to get what I needed in me and also worked the other way – allowing the nurses to take blood and without constant needles jabbing into my hands, arms, or (on one occasion when they couldn’t find a working vein) my feet! The operation to insert the Hickman line didn’t go smoothly and, long story short, I was rushed to another hospital where I was very poorly and had to have a chest strain. But with anything to do with me there is always a funny side. For example my poor dad nearly got chucked out by security when they found this strange man trying to get some sleep in an unused ward while he waited for his son to come round. Also, when I did awake, being too embarrassed to call out across the ward to a nurse when I desperately needed a pee because I didn’t want to wake the other very young children that were there. So I took a very English response to the situation by coughing at various intervals. The poor lady didn’t notice so I was left to very meekly call out “could I have a bottle please?” She was lovely though and, even though I was still unwell, a bit groggy and with various wires connected to me, she understood my insistence as a young man that I could do it myself.
After that adventure and carrying the three ends of the Hickman line in a little saddle bag around my neck, I returned to the Marsden. Over the course of the next few months that line was used constantly, backwards and forwards. It became a part of me and I still wear the scar of where it used to be. At times I give that scar a little rub and remember what it felt like to have the tube beneath my skin. That isn’t as gory as it sounds – it was a very faithful friend that ultimately worked tirelessly so I could be typing this now. I am very thankful for that.
This article was produced by with permission from author [Darren]
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